Song of the Week: “Batman Theme (1966)” (Neil Hefti)

Yesterday news of Adam West’s death broke and Gotham lost its finest guardian.

The 1966 Batman television series defined the character and his friends and foes for a generation, in no small part due to Adam West’s calm, laconic performance as the titular hero. He was quirky, he was campy, he was colorful, and man could he dance — look up the “Batusi” if you’re confused about that one. Last year West reprised the role, voicing the character in the animated feature Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, again in this year’s Batman vs. Two-Face, featuring William Shatner as Two-Face. The movie will be approximately five hours long, assuming the two characters do a lot of speaking.

West’s death had a particularly strong impact on me; thanks to the magic of reruns, for many years he was Batman to me. He was my Batman, just as he was for my parents before me. It’s hard to imagine a world without his guest spots — there’s a particularly fun one in The Big Bang Theory — and animated movies. So this week I presented the theme song from Batman in his honor.

Rest in peace, Adam West. Gotham will do its best to carry on without you.

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